Up to this point I have not talked much about the ubiquitous French macaron. Don’t get me wrong, I love them. Worship them. Can’t imagine my life without them. I guess I just hadn’t got around to it yet. But then, the other day, my dear blogging friend Melanie, suggested eating macarons to pull me from my winter blues. But, I have no access to them. If I can’t eat ’em, at least I can write about ’em. And maybe reminisce at little.
I was so excited to have my first macaron in France. It was at Laduree, the king of all macaron makers.
You see, I had always eaten macaroons in New York. My grandmother worked at a bakery, and one of her most favorite treats, next to black and white cookies, were coconut macaroons. I was very familiar with these dome shaped, buttery, moist, coco-nutty cookies. So, imagine my surprise when I looked into the Laduree display case, and found these teeny-tiny easter egg colored, light and fluffy sandwich cookies? What? Are you kidding? That is NOT a macaroon!
Now the big decision came. The tasting. What flavors? Some sounded decadent, like raspberry and coffee. But others sounded strange, like basil. A basil cookie…. ewwww. I saw flowery names, violet and rose? Blech. I don’t know about you, but eating perfume never sounded appetizing to me. I tell you, there were at least 15 flavors, and alot of them were, well…weird.
Oh, but the decorative boxes, the colors and the designs were to die for.
I stood ogling the case as Parisians swarmed all around me. It was a very intimidating experience. I moved to the back of the room and watched until I felt comfortable with the macaron ordering process.
Oh, the fun I had that day. I ordered a box to go. I took a ride on the wild side. I sampled lemon, lime, raspberry, coffee, pistachio, violet, rose, salted butter caramel and mint. Yep, the violet AND the rose!! And to my surprise, I loved French macarons. All of them. Even the weird ones. So light, crispy, fluffy, flavorful.
On my last trip, I went back to Laduree, but I also decided I would also seek out some other gourmet food shops in Paris and sample some different macarons.
I headed for Pierre Herme. I had heard wonderful things about his desserts and his macarons.
Look at all of his delicious flavors. Hmm, looks like they may have more filling inside.
And check out this giant macaron. Oh my, I had to hold myself back from jumping over the case to grab this beauty.
On a mission, I strolled on over to Gerard Mulot, another big name in macarons. I round the corner, only to find this.
Closed today. Locked up tight as a drum. On a Wednesday? Ah, C’est la Vie! There will always be next time.
My macaron tasting would not be complete without a visit to Lenotre. These were also wonderful.
Looking back I will tell you, I have never met a macaron that I didn’t like, Sure, I like some flavors more than others, but I really liked them all. The quality at all the Paris Patisseries were superb. I would highly recommend the places that we visited. But my heart will always belong to Laduree.
Where is your favorite place for French macarons? Which flavor really rocks your world?